Ground Zero Mosque Clears Another Hurdle in New York
LUISITA LOPEZ TORREGROSA
After months of intense debate here and across the nation, the city today opened the way for the construction of a mosque and Islamic center two blocks from Ground Zero, site of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.
The decision by the city Landmarks and Preservation Commission, which had been expected, allows for the transformation of a 152-year-old building into the proposed center just north of Ground Zero. The vote was 9-0 against granting landmark status to the building, which freed Islamic center organizers to tear it down and built the center on that site.
[snip] The project, once called the Cordoba House (named after Cordoba, Spain, the capital of Muslim conquerors), is now known as Park51, after its street address on Park Place and Broadway in Lower Manhattan. When completed, the building will incorporate a prayer space to accommodate 2,000 worshipers; a gym and pool; a 500-seat theater and galleries for exhibitions; and a catering hall for weddings and other social events. Its construction is being spearheaded by American Muslim cleric Feisal Abdul Rauf.
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